I was slightly surprised when I read on a menu in a small restaurant in the town of Lyons-la-Foret a dish that was called “jambonneau de volaille”, small chicken ham. Ham is pork, chicken is poultry, what is going on here?
My wife ordered it so we could see what it was – an almost completely deboned chicken leg, presented in the shape of a small ham – the shape of a leg of cured ham like Parma or Serrano. An oblong chunk of meat with a bone sticking out on one side.
Now this may seem far-fetched and slightly silly, but have you ever tried to eat a chicken leg with fork and knife? At one stage or another, you will probably have taken it off your plate for a good bite.
With our small chicken ham, however, you can easily slice the meat and put the pieces in your mouth with a fork and style.
The deboned leg can also be stuffed and presented with a sauce, or mushrooms. The restaurant had put it on a small bed of apple/potato Rösti (a Swiss potato dish in which the potatoes is coarsely grated and cooked in a skillet bunched in patties).
The finicky part of the dish is the deboning. You start by taking out the large bone in the thigh by using a sharp knife close to the bone. Then you take out the “elbow” on top of the smaller bone.
You cut off the far-end and slightly push the bone outside. You roll up the thigh with the skin outside and put the “ham” in a tight fitting fire-proof cup (like a muffin mould) with some butter and pepper and cook it in an oven at 175 °C for 25 minutes.
On the picture you also see small boiled potatoes in their skin and a braised endive.